Dispatches from Outland
A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants. Copyright © 2003 Roy M. Jacobsen.


Friday, October 10, 2003  

Face The Blogosphere Department: Announcing the long-overdue answers for Valerie! (Sorry I took so stinking long.)

1) What was the first job you ever had and how has that experience impacted your current work?
Well, growing up on a farm, the first job I can clearly recall was picking rocks. Rocks are hard on farm machinery, and North Dakota is full of Canadian rocks, deposited here by the glaciers that rolled through during the last ice age. So my brothers and I would walk through the fields in the spring, alongside the loader tractor, picking up rocks and tossing them into the loader bucket. That experience taught me that sucky jobs won't kill you.

2) What is your church/denominational history?
Grew up attending a Lutheran church, but now I'm attending a Baptist church.

3) What is your favorite story about one of your ancestors?
Oooh, there are a lot of good ones. Like one about my great-grandfather John Monson. , who picked out a homestead site in northwest North Dakota, then went back to his home in Iowa to marry my great-grandmother Olena. John then returned to the homestead alone, built a sod house and got things going on the farmstead before Olena came. I'l let my mother tell the rest of the story: "He met her at the train in Bowbells, changed his voice somewhat, and said to her, "Can I carry your bag, lady"? She said, "NO! I'll carry it myself!" She didn't recognize him as he hadn't had a shave or haircut since she last saw him."
But I think I have to say that my favorite story involves another great-grandfather, Olaf Strathe, and how he and his wife narrowly escaped dying in a blizzard in 1941. Here's the story as he relates it in a letter to one of his daughters:
"Dear Kids,
"Just a few lines this morning to let you know we are still living after that awful storm. See by the paper that it didn't hit you so bad.
"Sure was terrible here, and so many were out in it and froze to death.
"Mother and I went to Hope - it was snowing quite thick when we left, but the wind was in the south, and so warm, we didn't think anything of it and not far to town.
"Bob Reichert went in with us. When we got about 3 miles from home, the wind switched to northwest, and all of a sudden it was so thick we couldn't see 2 ft. ahead of us. Our car got wet and stopped 1/2 mile from town. We held hands and tried to go to town, but the wind was so strong and the wet snow made it impossible to face, so we went back to the car which was only a few rods back.
"So Bob started back for Oxton's which was over a mile but with the storm. He got my flashlight. got there OK but no body home-they were all in town. So he found himself cap, mittens and a fur coat, lit the lamp, put it in the window -grabbed 2 more flashlights that were handy on a table and started back for our car where we were. Can't see for the life of me how he made it against the wind, and so thick you couldn't see nothing. But you know there was an almighty hand that guided him. We had gotten wet from the fine snow sifting in, so the only thing to do was for us all to try to get back to Oxton's. We all held hands and started off and made it. But only God knows how we got there.
"Mother froze her legs pretty bad but she'll be OK. We stay at Genevieve's so Dr. is over 2 - 3 times a day. He was just here now and said she's getting along fine.
"So don't worry, we'll be fine but will take time. We have God and Bob Reichert to thank for being alive.
"Sure was terrible. So many lost their lives to try and save their dear ones. And so many mothers and fathers lost children.
"My dear children, don't ever think there is no God. there is. That I know better now than ever before. So let us try to live and do the best we know how according to God's will. Please don't worry about Mother. She'll be OK after a few days.
Yours, Mother, Dad and all"

4) Congratulations! You've just won an all-expenses-paid, 30-day trip to anywhere outside North America. Where do you go and why?
I'm torn between Australia and Europe. Australia because it's an absolutely fascinating country, with so much varied geography and wildlife, and Europe because there's just so darn much history, everywhere you go.

5) Alas! Upon returning from foreign parts, you are arrested, tried, found guilty and sentenced to five years in solitary confinement. You are allowed to take a Bible and three other books with you. Which books do you choose and why?
I'm going to cheat and say number one is an omnibus edition of The Lord of the Rings; I could re-read that one many times and not grow tired of it. Number two, maybe The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis; I've meant to read that one for a while, and I think that being in solitary would tend to help me focus on the deep spirituality of Kempis' work. Number three . . . I really can't decide. Gentle readers, can you help me figure it out?

By the way, here are the rules for this interview thing:
1. If you want to participate, leave a comment saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's will be different.
3. You will update your journal or blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 4:58 PM
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